Boxing is in danger to be removed from the future Olympics after the Russian sports functionary Umar Kremlev has been controversially re-elected for the Presidential post of the International Boxing Association (IBA).
The President and independent members of the Board of Directors of IBA have been scheduled to elect in the two-day Extraordinary Congress (13-14 May 2022). Though the election date was initially scheduled for Friday (13th May), it was postponed for 24 hours to allow the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to react to the appeal from the Dutch candidate Boris van der Vorst.
The election drama
Just ahead of the initial schedule of the election, Boris van der Vorst and four other candidates were determined ineligible for the recent elections of the President and independent members of the Board of Directors of IBA. The Interim Nomination Unit of the Boxing Independent Integrity Unit (BIIU) came with that crucial decision ahead of the beginning of the election process.
According to the statement on the official IBA website, the reason cited for such investigation was, “Complaints were made to the Interim Nomination Unit on 11 and 13 April 2022 that the activities of these candidates were improper under the IBA regulations insofar as they constituted participation in another international boxing organisation, prohibited collaboration between candidates and electoral campaigning outside the Electoral period.”
Later, Van der Vorst set up a petition to the IBA, where he asked the CAS to suspend the election process for the position of the President. But the CAS rejected that petition as the election process finally went on Saturday (14th May).
Ultimately, Umar Kremlev was elected unopposed as the President of IBA. He will now serve in this crucial post for the next four years. Earlier, in December 2020, he won 57.33% of the vote to become the President of IBA.
Soon, the members of the Board of Directors were also elected in the two-day Extraordinary Congress. But, the Boxing is now in danger to lose its spot in the future Olympics.
Boxing in the Olympics
The Tokyo 2020 had a total of 13 boxing categories (eight men’s categories and five women’s categories). However, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) already stripped the IBA’s right to run the boxing tournament in the Tokyo 2020 back in May 2019 due to “issues in the areas of finance, governance, ethics and refereeing and judging”.
International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) President Morinari Watanabe led the ad-hoc task force to organize the boxing tournament in Tokyo 2020.
According to the present status, Boxing is a part of the 28 Olympic sports in Paris 2024. Last April, the IBA also announced the qualification pathway for the 13 categories of boxing events (seven men’s categories and six women’s categories) for Paris 2024.
Meanwhile, Boxing has been removed from the “initial” program for Los Angeles 2028. This event can be only included if the governing body resolves the issue raised by the IOC.
Boxing made its debut in the modern Summer Olympics back in St. Louis 1904. Except for Stockholm 1912 (this sport was illegal in Sweden), this sport has always appeared in the Summer Olympics since 1904. However, women’s boxing only made its debut in Summer Olympics in London 2012.
IOC is aware of the latest incidents in the IBA as the committee is closely monitoring the present situation.
IOC has just released a statement that claimed, “The events surrounding IBA’s general assembly, in particular the elections, merit careful analysis and are just reinforcing the questions and doubts around IBA’s governance.”